How to Treat Your Cat’s Abscess
Abscesses are painful wounds that cats can develop after being bitten or scratched by other cats or animals. The abscess forms when bacteria enters the wound and creates an infection that eventually causes the skin to break open.
Caring for your pet’s abscess is important because if it is not kept clean and treated with the appropriate medication, the infection could possibly spread to other parts of the body, including the organs.
How to Identify an Abscess
An abscess will usually look like an open sore or a severe swelling on your cat’s skin. Often, the fur at the site may be missing or matted. The wound itself may or may not be oozing a foul-smelling pus, which in some cases may include blood. It is important to note that you may not always be able to see the abscess from a normal distance, but you will be able to see it (and smell it) if you get close enough to it.
If you feel a compressible swelling on your cat’s body, but you don’t see any signs of a tooth mark, then this is the abscess before it ruptures. During this stage of the infection, you may notice you cat acting lethargic and running a fever.
What to Do If You Find an Abscess on Your Cat
If you discover your cat has an abscess, then the first thing you will want to do is schedule an appointment for her to be evaluated by her veterinarian. Then, until you are able to see the vet, you should do the following:
- Carefully clip away as much hair from the site as possible so you can better see the extent of the wound.
- Apply a clean cloth soaked in warm water or a warm compress to the site. Try to keep it on the wound for a minute or two at a time.
- You can apply hydrogen peroxide to the wound to help disinfect it, if your cat can stand it. NEVER use alcohol or topical antibiotic ointments on an abscess. The alcohol stings and the cat will lick the antibiotic ointment off and it is not good for your cat to ingest it.
After performing the above steps, the wound should be clean and you should have a better idea of just how bad the abscess is.
What to Expect at the Veterinarian
When you arrive at the veterinarian with your cat, the vet will perform a thorough evaluation of the abscess and your cat’s overall health. If the abscess is open and draining, then the vet will probably be able to treat your cat without sedation. But, if the abscess hasn’t opened yet, then the vet will have to administer sedation to your pet and lance the abscess. Samples of the pus will be collected and sent to the lab so the veterinarian will be more informed as to which antibiotics will work best against the infection.
In some cases, a drain may need to be inserted by the vet in order to keep the abscess open and draining. It will be important to keep the drain as clean as possible. The vet will usually remove the drain after three days.
Once your cat returns home, keep her confined to her own room while she heals. Ideally, you will want to keep her somewhere with easy to clean floors and walls, like a bathroom, laundry room, or mud room. Make sure the room is warm and dry and provide your cat with everything she needs to recover comfortably, like a litter box, soft blankets, food, and fresh water.
Keep the wound clean by wiping it down with a clean cloth soaked in warm water. Keep wiping the site until you remove all of the visible pus. In some cases, the wound will close and another abscess can form. If this happens, take your cat back to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
If your cat is diagnosed with an abscess and she is prescribed medications to help her recover, you can receive a free quote for your pet’s medications from Diamondback Drugs. We can help you save money on all of your pet medications.
As always, be sure to inform your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your cat is currently taking so your vet can make the best treatment decision for your pet’s unique case and help reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.
Author: Giano Panzarella